Frank sits in a movie theater all alone.
(from The Book of Other People)
Also Frank accidentally cuts his finger while cutting up some soup ingredients and lets the blood go everywhere. It’s a brilliant scene, memorable, visceral, confusing, totally buyable. But. This story has a secret, or rather the author has a secret she didn’t see maybe fit to put into the story. Ooh a mystery. Except I didn’t figure it out. If the clues were there then I missed em, even after re-reading the obviously mysterious parts.
A.L. Kennedy has a web page.
I actually found this post by doing a search of the short story.
Just read it on the busride home from school today, and I had to say its complexity threw me off on first glance.
But from what I gather Frank works at a mental institution and has just lost his (from the sound of it) daughter to some terrible tragedy. The distress and pure agony of such a thing causes instability in his marriage and drives him mentally unstable.
After the fight with his wife over cutting his finger, he runs away to regain a stability–but instead throws himself into a detachment from reality.
He embraces this and only now longs to sit in the theater, watching the film that in some aspects mirrors his own life.
I agree with Dylan about the dead daughter. I would add that Frank seems to have a kind of responsibility in it, that would explain why his wife resents him, and why he’s the one most troubled.
But I see him working in a morgue, or as a surgeon maybe, anyway, in an environment where you are soon led to announce the death of their beloved to families and friends.